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JURY RETURNS CRITICAL NARRATIVE CONCLUSION AT THE INQUEST INTO THE DEATH OF 18 YEAR OLD HENRY HICKS

28 JUNE 2016

JURY RETURNS CRITICAL NARRATIVE CONCLUSION AT THE INQUEST INTO THE DEATH OF 18 YEAR OLD HENRY HICKS

Before HMC Mary Hassell

The Jury in the inquest into the death of Henry Hicks has today returned a critical narrative conclusion. They found that the police were in pursuit of Henry when he died and that Henry's attempt to avoid the police contributed to his death.

The four officers who pursued Henry all stated in their evidence that they did not consider they were in a police pursuit and had therefore not sought authority to pursue. Three of the officers provided statements that differed materially from their initial accounts given at the scene.

The Jury concluded that:

•        Henry David Hicks died as a result of a road traffic collision on Friday 19 December 2014
•        Immediately prior to the collision, Henry was aware that plain clothes police officers were in unmarked vehicles driving at a distance behind him and that they were wanting him to stop.
•        This was a police pursuit as defined by the Metropolitan Police Service SOP.
•        Factors contributing to the road traffic collision were as follows:
          -        Attempting to avoid the police
          -        Swerving
          -        Riding a powerful 300cc moped
          -        A road hump
          -        The presence of a taxi
          -        2 out of 3 lights not working on a vehicle


On the evening of 19 December 2014, 18 year old Henry Hicks was riding his scooter in Islington, near his home in North London, when police officers in two unmarked cars followed him for a short distance, then signalled for him to stop and thereafter pursued him with flashing lights and sirens. At one point both police cars attained speeds in excess of 50mph in a 20mph area. About a minute later Henry came off his moped as he lost control and veered into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Henry suffered fatal head injuries. He was given first aid at the scene but was pronounced death at St Mary’s Hospital later that evening.

The IPCC have completed an investigation into the incident, finding four officers have a case to answer for gross misconduct.

The family will now consider their next legal steps.

 

Henry Hicks’ family said:

“We welcome the conclusion and thank the Coroner and jury for their careful consideration of the evidence.

Henry died in the course of a police pursuit by unmarked police cars, while he was riding his moped near our home in Islington.

Henry was 18 when he died and as the police themselves said in the course of this inquest, he was a nice boy, polite, well brought up and from a good family.

We are completely heart broken and miss him every day. We will always miss him and today confirms what we always believed had happened on that night.

We would like to thank our legal team, Nick Rhodes QC, Alex dos Santos and Dean Dunham from Debello Law and Shona Crallan from INQUEST.

We have been incredibly touched since Henry died by the Community's reaction and the number of people including strangers who have come up to us to tell us how special Henry was to them and how he had affected their lives.”

 

Deborah Coles, INQUEST, said:

“This inquest jury have unanimously rejected the police version of events. Over a year after his death, it has taken an inquest to expose the truth about how an 18 year old came to die as a result of a dangerous police pursuit.”

 

INQUEST has been working with the family of Henry Hicks. The family is represented by Dean Dunham of Debello Law LLP and INQUEST Lawyers Group members Nick Rhodes QC and Alexander dos Santos of Charter Chambers.


Ends

 

Notes to editors:

For further information, please contact: Shona Crallan, INQUEST, 020 7263 1111.

Please note statistics for deaths resulting from police pursuits:
2016 – 6 (1 Met, 5 other)
2015 – 4 (0 Met, 4 other)
2014 – 3 (1 Met, 2 other)
2013 – 13 (6 Met, 7 others)
2012 – 8 (3 met, 5 others)
2011 – 7 (1 Met, 6 other)

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